Team Yankee An Excerpt from Team Yankee
Harold Coyle's Novel of World War III

Battlefront’s game Team Yankee was inspired by a signed copy of the novel Team Yankee sent to Battlefront by its author, Harold Coyle, an avid wargamer.

To coincide with the release of the game, Harold has revised the novel and is republishing it. This excerpt gives you a taste of the story and a feel for the style of both the novel and the game.

“ROMEO 25, THIS IS MIKE 77. SPOT REPORT. 5 T-72 TANKS MOVING WEST. GRID 190852. CONTINUING TO OBSERVE, OVER.”

Bannon snapped his head to the left. There was no need to use a map. There was only one place where the Russians would be, and that was on the hill 2,200 meters away. All the training, planning, and preparation was over. Team Yankee was about to learn if the Team’s seventy-nine men and twenty-five million dollars’ worth of equipment could do what they were supposed to do: close with and destroy the enemy by fire, maneuver, and shock effect.


The five T-72 tanks began their descent into the valley in a line with about 100 meters between tanks. One of them had a mine roller attached to the front of its hull. He would have to be taken out in the first volley. 

Team Yankee
As soon as the tanks started down, a line of Soviet armored personnel carriers, BMP-2s, appeared on the crest of the hill and followed the tanks down without hesitation. There were fifteen of these personnel carriers deployed in a rough line about one hundred meters behind the tanks. All moved down the opposite slope at a steady and somewhat restrained pace, as if they really didn’t want to go into the valley or get too far ahead of follow-on elements.
Team Yankee
Team Yankee The scene before Team Yankee was too good to be true. For some unknown reason the Team had not been hit by artillery yet. The Soviets were rolling forward as if they were on maneuvers, not attacking an enemy force hunkered down in prepared positions. Even better, their change in direction offered most of the Team flank shots. And on top of that, the actions by the command group had telegraphed who they were. If luck held for another minute or two, it would be all over for this motorized rifle battalion.

“ROMEO 83, THIS IS ROMEO 25. DO YOU SEE THAT LAST GAGGLE COMING DOWN THE HILL? OVER.”

“25, THIS IS 83. ROGER, OVER.”

“83, THIS IS 25. THAT IS THE COMMAND GROUP. I WANT YOU AND THE TWO TRACKS YOU HAVE UP THERE TO TAKE THEM OUT. THE BMP AND TANK FIRST, OVER”

“THIS IS 83, WILCO.”


Uleski considered this last order before he relayed instructions to the ITVs. He paused for a moment and watched the advancing Soviets. With Alpha 55 silent except for the hum of the engine, he could feel the tension build up in himself and his crew. In the past, he had always been able to crack a joke or say something funny to lighten a tense moment. But he couldn’t, not this time. It suddenly dawned upon him that this was real. The tanks and BMPs were manned with real Soviets, men who were coming his way to kill him.
Team Yankee

Despite the heat of the day, Uleski felt a cold shiver run down his spine. His stomach began to knot up, leaving him feel as if he were going to throw up. It was real, all real. In a minute, maybe two, all hell was going to break loose and he was right in the middle of it. Uleski’s head, flooded with disjointed thoughts, began to spin, with one thought playing back over and over, “Oh God, please make this go away.”


Satisfied Uleski understood what was expected of him, Bannon switched to the battalion command net and instructed the FSO to fire the prearranged artillery barrage. When the FSO acknowledged the request, Bannon dropped back down to the Team net. “ALL BRAVO 3 ROMEO ELEMENTS, UPON IMPACT OF FRIENDLY ARTILLERY, YOU WILL COMMENCE FIRING. MAINTAIN FIRE DISTRIBUTION AND GOOD SHOOTING. ROMEO 25 OUT” 


This last message neither upset nor unnerved Garger. Without bothering to acknowledge the commander’s orders, Garger switched to the platoon net and issued his own. The clear, sunny day, with the sun to his Platoon’s back, made it all too easy. All the BMPs were exposed to the entire platoon. Garger ordered SSgt Pierson, who was commander of Alpha 33 and Pierson’s wingman, to engage the right half of the BMPs. Garger instructed his own wingman, Blackfoot, to begin to engage the far left BMP and then work his way toward the center of the line. He would begin in the center and work his way to the left. In this way, the platoon would avoid killing the same BMP.

With nothing to do but wait for the artillery, Garger leaned back and considered the scene before him. This was easier than the Armor School at Fort Knox. It couldn’t be that simple. There had to be a catch. The Soviets were coming at them as if the Team wasn’t there. Garger tried hard to think if there was something he had missed, an order that needed to be given. Something. But there wasn’t.

Team Yankee

All seemed to be in order. All was ready. “What the hell,” he muttered to himself. “Might as well relax and enjoy the moment.” 


In the Mech Platoon’s positions, Sergeant First Class Polgar grasped the hand grips of his M2 machinegun as he watched the Soviets. He was amazed. When he had been a young private, Polgar had been in Vietnam two months before he had seen his first VC, and they had been very, very dead. In the first day of this war, he was looking at all the Soviets he cared to see. He looked to his left, then to his right at the line of PCs he was responsible for. The four M-113s with him weren’t going to do a hell of a lot if the tanks in the Team fell flat on their ass. As the Soviets drew near, Polgar tracked the Soviets with his M2 and thought, “Those dumb-ass tankers better be as good as they think they are, or this is going to be one damned short war.”

Team Yankee
Team Yankee

The Team was charged and ready. Bannon could feel it. Having issued all the orders he needed to for the moment, the time had come to fight his own tank.

Grabbing the TC’s override, he traversed the turret, bringing the main gun to bear on his intended victim while yelling out his fire command without bothering to key the intercom. “GUNNER - SABOT - TANK WITH MINE ROLLER.” 

In response, Folk yelled out once he spotted the vehicle. “IDENTIFIED.” 

Kelp followed this with a sharp, crisp, “UP!” letting both Bannon and Folk know the main gun was loaded, armed, and he was clear of the path of recoil. 

Bannon dropped down on top of his seat. Perched above the gunner and loader, he watched through the primary sight’s extension as Folk tracked the T-72. Then they waited as the enemy continued to draw neared. And they waited. The line of tanks was now beginning to reach the valley floor. And they waited. The sweat was rolling down Bannon’s face as he edged ever closer to losing nerve. And they waited. 

“SPLASH, OVER.” The FSO’s call on the battalion net heralded the impact of the artillery. Across the valley, the crest of the far hill erupted as hundreds of small bomblets scattered and went off. On target! 

“FIRE!” 

“ON THE WAAAAAY!” 

The image of the T-72 disappeared before Bannon’s eye in a flash and cloud of smoke as Folk loosed his first round, sending the tank rocking back as the gun recoiled and spit out the spent shell casing. Without needing to be told, Kelp hit the ammo door switch with his knee, causing it to slide open with a sharp bang. He hauled out the next round, loaded the gun, and armed it even before the dust and obscuration of their first round had dissipated. When it did, the T-72 with the mine roller was stopped, broadside to Alpha 66, and was burning furiously.

“TARGET - CEASE FIRE.” They had drawn their first blood. “STAND BY GUNNER.”

Team Yankee
Bannon popped his head up to get a quick overall picture of what was going on. Just as he did, Alpha 33 fired a HEAT-T round at a BMP. He watched the tracer streak towards the target and impact with a bright orange flash and black ball of smoke. The BMP lurched forward another few meters then stopped, quivered, and began to burn. Bannon next turned his attention to the valley floor and opposite slope, watching that scene repeated again and again. In the few instances when the first round missed a BMP, the BMP would turn away from the impact. This maneuver, however, only added a few more seconds to its life and that of its crew because the second round usually found its mark. He watched as two BMPs, madly scrambling to avoid being hit, rammed each other and stopped. This calamity only made it easier for Team Yankee’s gunners, as both BMPs died within seconds of each other, locked together in a fiery death. Team Yankee

By now the crest of the far hill had all but disappeared from view. The smoke and DPICM were doing their jobs. So far, nothing had followed the Soviet command group down. It had scattered in an effort to avoid being hit, but to no avail. The BMP belonging to the command group was lying on its side, a track hanging off and burning. The tank that had been with it had also been hit, but had only shed its right track. It stood, immobile but defiant, returning fire towards the headquarters position. This uneven contest, however, did not last long. In return, the T-72 received a TOW missile that detonated near the turret ring. The resulting secondary detonations caused by stored onboard munitions ripped the turret off with a thunderous explosion.

“I have a BMP in my sights, can I engage?” an impatient Folk called out over the intercom.

Team Yankee
Team Yankee

Bannon knelt down, glanced at Kelp to ensure he was clear, checked that the gun was armed, and gave the command to fire. Folk gave an on-the-way and fired. As before, the rock and recoil shook the tank. A quick glance in the extension told Bannon Folk had been on the mark again. Another BMP crew and infantry squad had become heroes of the Soviet Union, posthumously. With the need to keep track of what the entire Team was doing, Bannon decided to give his gunner free rein to engage any targets he could find. “Gunner, find your own targets, if there are any left, and engage at will. Just make sure you’re not killing dead tracks.”

“Yes, sir!” His reply had a glee in it that reminded Bannon of a teenager who had just been given the keys to the family car.

Team Yankee
With that taken care of, Bannon popped up again to survey the battlefield. The devastation in the valley was awesome. Over twenty armored vehicles lay strewn there, dismembered, twisted, burning hulks. Folk had nothing to engage. The lead echelon of the motorized battalion had been annihilated. Six T-72 tanks, sixteen BMPs, a BTR-60, a ZSU 23-4, and an MTU bridge launcher, along with almost two hundred Russian soldiers, were gone. The engagement had lasted less than four minutes. Team Yankee had won its first battle.

Team Yankee: A Novel of World War III - Revised and Expanded Edition

Team Yankee: A Novel of World War III
– Revised and Expanded Edition

This new hardback edition is coming in May from Casemate Publishing